The Gandhian ideals of peace and harmony reverberate globally and give strength to millions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday as he unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi here in this Japanese city. The location of the bust of Gandhi has been chosen as a mark of solidarity for peace and non-violence. The United States conducted the world's first atomic attack on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, destroying the city and killing some 140,000 people.
Modi also spoke to reporters after unveiling the bust and said that even today the world gets scared when it hears the word Hiroshima. The bust was gifted by India to Hiroshima as a symbol of friendship and goodwill between India and Japan on the occasion of Prime Minister Modi's visit to the city for the G7 summit.
"Unveiled Mahatma Gandhi's bust in Hiroshima. This bust in Hiroshima gives a very important message. The Gandhian ideals of peace and harmony reverberate globally and give strength to millions," the prime minister tweeted.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the bust was a befitting tribute to a city that symbolises humanity's yearning for peace.
The 42-inch tall bronze bust has been sculpted by Padma Bhushan awardee Ram Vanji Sutar. The bust site, adjacent to the Motoyasu River, is close to the iconic A-Bomb Dome that is visited by thousands of people - locals and tourists alike - every day.
Gandhi dedicated his life to peace and non-violence. The location truly resonates with the principles and life of Gandhiji, which continue to inspire the world and its leaders, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
After unveiling the bust, Modi paid floral tributes to Gandhi. He thanked the mayor of the city and the Japanese government for the opportunity to unveil the Gandhi bust and said it will take forward the idea of non-violence.
"It is a great moment for me to know that the Bodhi tree that I gifted to the Japanese prime minister has been planted here in Hiroshima so that people can understand the importance of peace when they come here. I pay my respect to Mahatma Gandhi," Modi said.
Modi also held bilateral talks with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, focusing on ways to synergise efforts under G7 and G20 presidencies to deal with various global challenges.
Modi arrived in Hiroshima on Friday on the first leg of his three-nation trip to Japan, Papua New Guinea and Australia and is expected to take part in over 40 engagements.
Modi is visiting Hiroshima from May 19 to 21 primarily for the annual summit of the G7 advanced economies in which he is expected to speak on challenges facing the globe, including food, fertiliser and energy security.
He will hold bilateral meetings with some of the world leaders attending the Hiroshima G7 Summit. The G7 bloc comprises Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and Italy, as well as the European Union.